East-South 'Thai Bridge' project gains momentum

East-South 'Thai Bridge' project gains momentum

The 900-billion-baht Thai Bridge project, aimed at building a new freight route from the East to the South, is expected to be discussed by the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee today.

The much-touted project involves digging a tunnel from Chon Buri on the eastern coast to either Phetchaburi or Prachuap Khiri Khan, located on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand, as a new cargo transport route from the flagship EEC project to the South.

The project has already won approval by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA).

The development of the Thai Bridge project along with the relaxation of inter-country transport regulations promises to open up new transport routes between East Asia and Asean.

The project is predicted to happen faster than the Dawei deep sea-port project in Myanmar, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

Travelling or transporting cargo from southern China through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to Thailand where passengers and goods will be delivered onward via the Thai Bridge route to either Phetchaburi or Prachuap Khiri Khan and then on to seaports in Ranong on the Andaman coast will bypass the Malacca Strait, which will lower the transport costs and greatly benefit investments in Thailand, said the minister.

The Dawei investment project is moving slowly because it involves investment by more than one country, he said.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, the chairman of the government's committee on economic steering, which is under the CESA, confirmed previously that the Thai Bridge is one of the 30 large investment projects being accelerated.

Initially, at least 900 billion baht will be required to finance the project estimated to take 10 years to implement, he said.

The Transport Ministry is also dusting off a related project to build a land bridge to connect the Andaman Sea in Ranong with the Gulf of Thailand in Chumphon, said government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

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